Wednesday, April 19, 2023

How To Drive Yourself Absolutely Mad

by Janis Patterson

Okay, the title of this is a little misleading... if you’re a writer you’re already at least partially mad. Even though we don’t have to keep proving it, that’s just what I have done. 

So what have I done? Well, it’s not totally my fault. People have always been telling me that I should be more businesslike about my writing, that there’s more to it than just sitting at my desk (or on the patio, or...) and making up stories. And there is.

Back during the years of the covid crazies I got very lazy. I was aware that reverted rights from some of my trad-pubbed books were showing up in my email, but having better things to do (namely hot tub and ice cream) I blithely tucked them away on my hard drive. In January of this year one of my resolutions (being a hopeful fool I still make them...) was to be more businesslike about my writing, so I started digging through the computer to find and do something about the reversions.

Imagine my shock when I found there were twenty six of the little beasties. TWENTY SIX! A quick glance through them decided me that four were going under the bed forever - either not to my current standards or requiring too much time/work to make them acceptable. Which still left twenty two. (To say nothing of the two new works for which I am currently contracted...)

I was raised in advertising, where deadlines are sacrosanct, so I decided that to get all these stories out and about again in a timely manner I needed a plan with firm deadlines. So... every one of those novels will be freshly edited and freshly formatted (ebooks only at the moment, though some of the will eventually go into hard copy) and if I don’t own the rights to the cover I will have to make a new one so I can rerelease a book every other Wednesday. 

Every other Wednesday.

This experiment began the last week of January. If I can hold to it, and so far I have, the last one of this batch will be released mid-October. 

This doesn’t really make me crazy, does it? Just ambitious.

What probably does push me over the line into crazy is that in the middle of this an absolutely splendid opportunity arose to enter the audio book market. As I have done audio narrations in the past for other authors and was a voice actress for a while I cherished the idea of doing my narrations myself, but there were two things in the way of that happy eventuality. First of all, I barely have time to do laundry let alone narrate even one book, and second of all, I don’t have the money to rent a half-way decent studio. (Yes, I know some people do their recording in their homes, but I have an extremely vocal little dog, and my next door neighbor - while a wonderful and upstanding man - owns every piece of gasoline powered lawn equipment ever manufactured and seemingly uses every single one of them every day. His showpiece of a lawn proves it. It is especially noticeable next to our scraggly property, where we cherish our weeds because at least they are green.) No, home recording was most definitely out.

However, due to a happy confluence of the universe and the intervention of a dear friend, I came into contact with a marvelous narrator - whose voice you might recognize if you heard it - who agreed to go into partnership with me. We hope to have at least fifteen books out in audio by the end of summer. Admittedly I have much less to do with the process - edit the books to make sure they’re ready to record and then do an editorial check on the final tape or whatever it’s called.

And sometime in the few interstices of time, I do frivolous things like cook dinner, do laundry and sleep. Oh, and write. Remember, I have those two new books contracted. Sigh.

Maybe there’s a reason writers are regarded as crazy?


Jacqueline Seewald said...

I'm very much impressed with your efforts. I have sixteen books to which my rights have been returned. But I don't self-publish. Audio books do seem to be more popular than ever. I wish you much success.

Laura Strickland said...

Great post! We may be kindred spirits because my lawn is the scraggliest--or I like to call it the most natural--in the neighborhood also. But--it's fabulous to be just a little crazy, no? Otherwise life would be so boring . . .

Susan Oleksiw said...

The beginning of a career is so much easier than what comes after that--books to edit and track, series to update, and the rest of it. As for home maintenance, our back yard is a "natural habitat," good for the birds and visiting animals. And some of it is green.

Lois Winston said...

Janis, and I thought I was the queen of taking on too much all at once! Kudos to you, but do try to work in a few minutes of "me" time now and then so you don't burn out.

Sofie Couch said...

Laundry? Laundry?! THAT is crazy talk. :) Good luck with that wild ride of projects. You're awesome!

Morgan Mandel said...

So many things to do. So little time. I'm guilty of leaving my writing on the backburner these days. I have a dog that loves to walk about an hour in the morning and it's good exercise for both of us. I waste too much time on social media, but feel bad if I neglect connecting with friends I've known in person or online. Before, it never bothered me if my house was a wreck and the dirty clothes piled up. Now I'm trying to be neat, though not always successful. lol I have 10,000 words waiting to be multiplied on my work in progress when I feel the urge again to ignore all else and slip into my make believe story.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good for you. You are amping up while I'm winding down. All the best to you from me.

Steven Finn said...
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